The wheels of justice unfortunately move incredibly slow when it comes to writing a wrong. Sixty-year-old Lawrence McKinney from Memphis, Tenn., knows this adage to be true after he spent 31 years in prison for a rape and burglary he did not commit. In 2009, DNA evidence dismissed him as a suspect in the 1978 crime and he was released from prison. However, for his three decades behind bars, McKinney was given a shameful $75 from the state.
“I don’t have no life, all my life was taken away,” McKinney said to CBS News.
McKinney is now fighting to receive a $1 million compensation if the Tennessee Parole Board hears his exoneration case, which they’ve already denied twice. Jack Lowery, McKinney’s lawyer thinks his client is more than deserving of the pay out since he can’t be given his 31 years back.
“It is not justice for him not to receive compensation for being wrongfully imprisoned,” Lowery said.Yet, parole board member Patsy Bruce who served on the board the first time McKinney was denied still isn’t convinced he’s innocent.
In September, the parole board voted 7-0 to not hear McKinney’s exoneration case, now it’s up to Republican Gov. Bill Haslam who hears exoneration cases to decide. The governor’s press secretary Jennifer Donnals spoke with The Tennessean and said the governor is conducting a thorough review of McKinney’s executive clemency application, which was received Nov. 21. If McKinney’s case is approved by the governor, not only would be awarded $1 million, but it would also mean he can clear his name.